Samar’s friends decided to book a hotel at a beach specially for her. Everybody was excited to go especially Samar.

The words ‘specially’ and ‘especially’ are a confusing set of homophones. Unlike most homophones, which are only spelled alike but mean entirely different; ‘specially’ and ‘especially’ have very similar meanings with fine distinctions between them.

In a general sense, both words are used to mean ‘particularly’. However, ‘specially’ carries a sense of directness and highlight; hence it is used in a more informal and emphatic tone. It means ‘for a special goal’. For instance, an event can be organized specially for a person, a purpose, or an occasion.

On the contrary, ‘especially’ carries a sense of exceptionalism. Hence, it is used more formally to refer to the degree of quality as being highest or best, implying a comparison. For instance, ‘an especially beautiful pair of eyes’ implies that the beauty of those specific eyes precedes any other.

Specially vs especially – definitions, uses, and example sentences

Definition of specially

Specially is pronounced ‘speh-shuh-lee’. Grammatically, ‘specially’ is an adverb meaning it qualifies a verb, adjective, or other parts of speech. It can be defined as ‘having a special goal or purpose’ without insinuating a comparison. It can also be used to mean ‘in a particular way’ or ‘in an extreme way’. The synonyms of ‘specially’ are ‘particularly’ and ‘extremely’.

Example sentences of specially

  • Young Einstein had a keen interest in arts and music, specially in playing the violin in his free hours.

In the first sentence, the word ‘specially’ can be completely replaced with the word ‘particularly’. The sentence describes that as a youngster Einstein enjoyed music, particularly playing the violin during his free time.

Abraham Lincoln was a gifted statesman but the single most outstanding quality was that he was specially eloquent as a public orator.

In the second sentence, the word ‘specially’ is used in the meaning of ‘extremely’ or ‘specifically’ to refer to Lincoln’s ability as a public speaker. Abraham Lincoln was a masterful politician, but his one special quality that was very noticeable was that he was a fine public speaker.

Shah Jahaan, the fifth Mughal emperor, built Taj Mahal as a monument of love specially for his late wife Mumtaz Mahal.

In the final sentence, the word ‘specially’ is used in the meaning of ‘for a special person’.  The famous Mughal Emperor built the famous monument Taj Mahal for a very special person – his wife Mumtaz Mahal.

Definition of especially

Especially is pronounced ‘espeh-shuh-lee’. Like its homophone, it is also used as an adverb. It shares the first definition with the word ‘specially’ in that it also means ‘for a special purpose’ and ‘particularly’. In this sense, it only differs from ‘specially’ for being more formal. Distinctly, ‘especially’ is used when a comparison is to be made and a quality or action is to be shown as exceptional or superior to others. The synonyms of ‘especially’ are ‘particularly’ and ‘specifically’.

Example sentences of especially

In the world of medical academics, it is increasingly difficult to conduct studies especially lengthy reviews and meta-analyses owing to hefty working hours.

In the first sentence, the word ‘especially’ is used in the meaning of ‘in particular’ or ‘more so than others’ to refer to ‘reviews and meta-analyses’ as ‘particularly difficult’. In the realm of medical studies, it is particularly difficult to carry out researches like lengthy reviews and meta-analyses because of long working hours.

The legal firm welcomed another team member on board and changed the name of the firm especially for him.

In this sentence, ‘especially’ is used as an adverb in a sense similar to that of ‘specially’, meaning ‘in a special manner’. The legal firm welcomed a new employee in their team and also changed its name specifically for him.

The invitation to the party must be sent to all of the couple’s friends, especially Ali.

In the last sentence, the word ‘especially’ is used to refer to its distinctive sense of ‘exceptional’. Here, the invitation to an individual friend ‘Ali’ is mentioned to be delivered separately, implying a sense of priority.


The words ‘specially’ and ‘especially’ are homophones and are used as adverbs in a sentence. Both of these adverbs are used in the meaning of ‘particularly’ and ‘having a special objective’. However, there are two major differences between the two homophones. Firstly, ‘especially’ is used in a more formal sentence structure whereas ‘specially’ is not. Secondly, ‘especially’ is a comparable adverb, meaning it qualifies another part of speech as exceptional and distinct from another. Whereas, ‘specially’ is employed when an emphasis is required on a person, occasion, or action without implying a comparison.

Remembering distinction between the two words can be a tricky business. To correctly learn each word, note that the additional ‘e’ at the beginning of the word ‘especially’ can stand for ‘exceptional’ to highlight its distinct meaning. Learn the word ‘specially’ by virtue of exclusion as it lacks an ‘e’ in the beginning.